Oakland starter Jharel Cotton kept getting interrupted during his warmups Monday, first by Melissa Ethridge rocking out the National Anthem, then by a flyover from a B2 bomber, and finally by an emotional tribute to the late Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura.
The home opener had a somber feeling even before the Royals' bats went quiet, starting with a tear-filled tribute to Yordano Ventura.
The Royals will also honor Ventura this season by wearing black patches with "Ace 30" written in white on their uniforms. The young pitcher, an instrumental part of their back-to-back World Series appearances, was killed in an offseason vehicle crash in the Dominican Republic.
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Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez, left, smiles at home plate umpire Chris Guccione, right, during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Monday, April 10, 2017.
Monday's ceremony included a saxophonist playing "Amazing Grace" and several of Ventura's teammates laying a banner on the mound.
Marisol Hernandez, YV's mother, throws ceremonial first pitch.
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'It's a tough day, ' said another one of Ventura's good friends, shortstop Alcides Escobar. "This is not easy because everybody is reminded of Yordano". "It's still heartbreaking to a lot of guys in there".
"He was more than just a teammate to all of us, he was, you know, family", Third Baseman Moose Moustakas said.
Cotton, acquired in the Rich Hill/Josh Reddick deal with the Dodgers at the trade deadline past year, shut down the Royals with just two hits over seven innings in front of an Opening Day Kauffman Stadium crowd that wanted to be fired up but never got the chance. "It makes you realize how lucky you are and not to take anything for granted, because it can all be taken away".
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The Royals (2-5) and Athletics (4-4) will resume their three game series on Wednesday night. It's the only thing that's going to heal things, is time'.